Microsoft and Tech4Dev, a non-profit social enterprise, have collaborated on an initiative to teach coding and deep tech skills to girls and women across Africa. This aims at bridging the digital and technological gap ensuring equitable access to resources across the continent.
The Women Techsters project targeted at girls and women aged 16 to 40 in 54 African countries was launched on Monday.
The training will be conducted in a series of parallel exercises and will concentrate on technical skills. The skills include software development, product design, product management, data science and AI engineering, and cybersecurity.
Open days, boot camps, and masterclasses can serve as a virtual curriculum for girls and women across Africa. Importantly, they will get to learn how to use technology to advance their careers and businesses.
Participants will also be able to fill knowledge gaps, learn coding skills, and jumpstart their careers.
“When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry through greater access to skills and training, we not only unlock innovation, but also economic opportunities.” Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director, Microsoft Philanthropies MEA.
Tech4Dev Partnership with Microsoft
The Women Techsters fellowship will be a year-long coding program with five learning tracks that will use standardised learning curriculums. First, three months of preparation and then a six-month internship and enrollment in a mentorship program.
“The objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech empowered girls and women across Africa. They will have equal access to decent jobs and opportunities to build their ideas into tech-enabled businesses and tech start-ups. Ultimately, this aids economic growth.” Kendi Nderitu, Microsoft Country Manager for Kenya,
“Partnering with Microsoft made complete sense when it came to seeking a partner and organisation. It has continuously reaffirmed its commitment to digitally transforming communities through upskilling and fostering a knowledge economy. Our shared belief in training and empowering young women will help achieve a male-female ratio balance in the technology space. It will be providing them with useful skills to build more efficient businesses, or rewarding careers using technology.” Diwura Oladepo, Tech4Dev Executive Director.
According to Diwura, the campaign aligns with two of the Sustainable Development Goals. These include gender equality, decent jobs, and economic growth for women and girls.
This is part of Microsoft Africa’s Inclusion programme which aims to skill six million people by the end of 2023.
“Initially, we are launching the initiative in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt. We are excited to see how we can live up to our mission of enabling girls and women do more. We know that when women are empowered to fully contribute, society benefits overall.” Kendi Nderitu.